Rocksteady Studios has been radio silent concerning Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League since the game was delayed (again) till 2024 this April. That ended this week with the release of the first episode of what the studio is calling Suicide Squad Insider, a behind-the-scenes look into the game’s development. The game has faced plenty of criticism for its focus on live service over its long development cycle, which the new video hopes to combat by highlighting a heavy focus on story and a connection to the beloved Arkham trilogy. Things could be looking up for Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League.
With the latest footage from Suicide Squad Insider 01, it looks like Rocksteady is trying to put its best foot forward and assure players that Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League will be more than just another forgettable live service looter-shooter.
Within the first minute of the video, the connections to the much more warmly received Arkham trilogy are played up for viewers and for storytelling purposes. “At Rocksteady, storytelling and character depth are the core DNA of our games,” says Studio Director Darius Sadeghian, “These are not features, but Rocksteady fundamentals.”
This all seems to address issues that arose During the February 2023 State of Play, where Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League showed off a gameplay trailer boasting 15 minutes of footage for the new co-op game. The trailer was met with heavy negative feedback, as the game appeared to have little variation in combat between characters; a heavy emphasis on tiresome gear scores, an always-online requirement; and other signifiers of the looter-shooter genre. This likely contributed to the April announcement that the game was getting pushed to February 2, 2024.
This isn’t the first delay Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League has seen. The game was first revealed in August 2020 with a release window of 2022. It would be the first game from Rocksteady since 2015’s Arkham Knight. The game was then delayed in March 2022 to 2023, with a May 26 2023 release date confirmed at the 2022 Game Awards. Then came the most recent delay in April 2023.
As the first footage being shown to audiences since the most recent delay and negative feedback from State of Play, Rocksteady is directly addressing that negative feedback in hopes of assuring fans that everything they love about the Arkham games is still present in Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League.
It’s a smart pivot to make after Gotham Knights, the WB Montreal co-op game, was met with poor reception at launch. Not to mention many are feeling fatigue with live service games as several large publishers seek to flood the market with more titles in the genre than gamers have time to spend playing. Marketing Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League as a narrative continuation of the Arkhamverse gives it a leg up against other live service titles.
But the bones of Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League are still deeply rooted in live service. The multiplayer looter-shooter gameplay shown during Suicide Squad Insider 01 still appears to be much the same as the February State of Play, be it a less open display of the overt live service mechanics.
Rocksteady also assures players on the game’s recently updated FAQ that “Post-launch seasonal updates and earnable characters to expand the story with new missions, items, and more, available at no additional cost,” though a premium battle pass will still be offered. In practice this hopefully means the game’s story post-launch will still be available to access with little trouble for players not wanting to spend any more money on the game, hopefully avoiding some of the pitfalls of other live service titles like Marvel’s Avengers.
With a little under three months until its release (barring any further delays), Suicide Squad: Kill the Justice League is making a smart pivot to a focusing on narrative in the game’s marketing. While it likely can’t solve every problem the game’s live service mechanics have, it signifies that there just might be a spark of that Rocksteady magic still in the game somewhere.